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Things to Do In Anamosa Iowa in 2024

If you’re looking for fun things to do in Anamosa Iowa for 2024, you’ve landed in the perfect spot. Get ready to uncover a diverse selection of things to do in this charming town, offering adventure, culture, and exploration at every turn.

This charming town boasts an interesting history, natural beauty, and vibrant local culture. Whether you’re a resident or a visitor passing through, there’s no shortage of exciting activities and attractions to explore in 2024.

From scenic outdoor adventures to cultural experiences and everything in between, Anamosa offers something for everyone to enjoy. Join us as we discover the top things to do in Anamosa this year!

Things to Do in Anamosa, Iowa in 2024

Nestled in the heart of Iowa, Anamosa proudly stands as the cherished birthplace of Grant Wood, an artistic icon whose legacy continues to shape this small town’s character and charm. For those seeking to immerse themselves in the rich history and enduring legacy of this beloved painter, Anamosa, Iowa serves as an ideal starting point.

Located about a half-hour northeast of Cedar Rapids, Anamosa boasts picturesque natural surroundings, with scenic parks, winding rivers, and rolling hills inviting outdoor enthusiasts to hike, bike, or simply relax and take in the beauty of the countryside.

Grant Wood Art Gallery

Grant Wood Art in Anamosa

Embark on a captivating journey through the artistic legacy of Grant Wood at the Grant Wood Art Gallery, a cultural gem housed in an old bank building located in Anamosa, Iowa. This gallery is more than just an art space, it also serves as a living testament to the profound impact of Iowa’s most celebrated artist.

Visitors can expect to see exhibits that not only showcase a stunning collection of prints featuring Grant Wood’s timeless paintings but also offer an enriching educational experience. Among the collection is a model ice wagon and furniture designed by Grant Wood himself.

Souvenirs and prints are available for purchase, allowing you to take home a piece of this unique experience.

grant wood art gallery in Anamosa Iowa

Open on a free-will donation basis from Monday to Friday, 8 AM to 1 PM, and available for group tours upon request, the Grant Wood Art Gallery warmly welcomes all art enthusiasts and curious minds to discover the profound cultural heritage it proudly preserves.

Make your visit to Anamosa an unforgettable artistic excursion by immersing yourself in the beauty and history encapsulated within the walls of this iconic gallery.

The Grant Wood Art Gallery is located at 124 E Main St, Anamosa, IA

Grant Wood School

Grant Wood School

Discover the Antioch School, a historic gem east of Anamosa, Iowa, where American Gothic artist Grant Wood attended classes from 1896 to 1901. Built in 1872, this charming one-room schoolhouse exudes nostalgia and creativity.

After serving as a school until 1959, it transformed into an art studio and gallery, fostering a vibrant artistic community. Now under the care of the Jones County Historic Preservation Commission, the school and its quaint outhouse are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Explore this living piece of history, where education and artistic inspiration intertwine and experience the essence of Grant Wood’s early years.

Antioch School is located at 17314 Hwy 64, Anamosa.

Anamosa State Penitentiary

Anamosa state penitentiary

Step into the tan limestone walls of the Anamosa State Penitentiary, where nearly 150 years of history loom large, blending beauty with a chilling aura of confinement. Originally resembling a castle on an English estate, this formidable structure has stood witness to tales both haunting and hopeful. The penitentiary’s walls tell stories of escape attempts, construction feats, tragic events, and notorious prisoners.

The most famous prisoner in the history of the Anamosa State Penitentiary was John Wayne Gacy, infamously known as the Killer Clown. Gacy found himself incarcerated at the Anamosa State Penitentiary following his arrest in December 1968, after a 15-year-old boy, a state representative’s son, accused him of sexual assault.

Gacy while living in Waterloo, Iowa at the time, was convicted and sentenced to 10 years in prison but he was released on parole in June 1970, after serving just 18 months. Following his release, Gacy relocated to Chicago, where he would later commit the series of gruesome murders that made him a household name.

One of the most interesting rumors that swirled around Gacy’s time in the Anamosa State Penitentiary is that he built a mini golf course inside the prison walls. During my visit to the prison, I asked a guard about the mini-golf course and he acknowledged that while the mini-golf course had long been removed, he didn’t refute its existence at one point in time.

Whether you’re intrigued by the prison’s history and its inmates or not, a visit to this facility is worthwhile simply to admire the captivating architecture crafted by the inmates who were once housed there.

Anamosa State Penitentiary is located at 406 N High St, Anamosa, IA 52205

Anamosa State Penitentiary Museum

anamosa state penitentiary museum

Embark on a captivating exploration of Iowa’s largest prison history at the Anamosa State Penitentiary Museum, where 140 years of intriguing narratives await discovery. The building that houses the museum was previously a cheese-making facility and barn for the prison. 

Now visitors can wander through exhibits detailing the evolution of prison life and the enduring role of its custodians while immersing themselves in a treasure trove of early-day photographs that offer a window into the past.

But the museum experience doesn’t stop there. Engage with lifelike dioramas showcasing quarrying and construction techniques, and step inside a full-scale replica of a prison cell to gain firsthand insight into incarceration’s realities. Visitors to the prison museum can also dive deeper into the prison’s story through informative videos, uncovering unexpected facets such as the role of sports within its walls.

Before leaving the museum, visitors can explore Jan’s Gift Shop, where an array of books, t-shirts, postcards, and prison memorabilia await eager enthusiasts. Don’t miss the chance to unearth the rich tapestry of Iowa’s history at the Anamosa State Penitentiary Museum—a journey bound to leave you captivated and enlightened.

The Anamosa State Penitentiary Museum is located at 406 N High St Anamosa Iowa 52205

Riverside Cemetery – Grant Woods Gravesite

Grant Wood Grave in Anamosa Iowa

Experience a moment of reverence and reflection at the gravesite of Grant Wood, nestled within the tranquil confines of a small-town Iowa cemetery. As you navigate through the peaceful grounds, keep an eye out for the distinctive lion monument marking the resting place of the Wood family.

Grant Wood’s modest gravestone sits atop three stone steps, a poignant tribute adjacent to those of his mother, Hattie, and sister, Nan Wood Graham. While the grave itself may appear unassuming, its significance to admirers of Grant Wood’s work is undeniable.

Visitors embarking on this pilgrimage may find themselves enveloped in a sense of serenity amidst the rolling hills and picturesque surroundings. Take a moment to absorb the symbolism of the lion monument, a fitting emblem of strength and legacy. Though modest in scale, the gravesite offers a profound connection to the artist’s life and legacy, overlooking a scenic valley that may have inspired his iconic paintings.

As you pay your respects, consider the journey that led you here—an undertaking marked by dedication and admiration for Grant Wood’s enduring influence on Iowa’s cultural landscape. With limited parking and a serene ambiance conducive to quiet contemplation, the cemetery provides a sacred space for visitors to honor the memory of this beloved artist.

Riverside Cemetery is located at 310 South Elm Street, Anamosa, IA

Wapsipinicon State Park

Wapsipinicon State Park in Anamosa Iowa

Tucked away along the Wapsipinicon River, Wapsipinicon State Park offers a serene retreat amidst nature’s wonders. Spanning 400 acres of woodlands and meadows, the park is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts. Hike scenic trails, fish in clear waters, or simply relax in picturesque picnic spots.

With its tranquil ambiance and diverse recreational offerings, Wapsipinicon State Park invites visitors to unwind and embrace the beauty of Iowa’s countryside.

If you are looking for Anamosa Iowa campgrounds, consider Wapsipinicon State Park Campground for your next family outing.

Wapsipinicon State Park is located at 21301 Co Rd E34, Anamosa, IA 52205

Shopping in Anamosa

This section highlights the wide variety of shopping experiences available in Anamosa. From quaint boutiques to bustling markets, there’s something for every shopper to explore. Whether you’re searching for unique gifts, trendy fashion, or locally crafted treasures, Anamosa has it all.

Stroll down charming Main Street and discover eclectic shops offering a diverse range of products, from handmade jewelry to vintage finds. Don’t forget to visit the local farmers’ market for fresh produce and homemade goods. With its welcoming atmosphere and vibrant shopping scene, Anamosa is a shopper’s paradise waiting to be explored.

Fun things to do in Anamosa Iowa

The Shops Above The Wapsi

Located above the picturesque Wapsipinicon River, The Shops Above the Wapsi is a delightful destination offering a variety of unique finds and local treasures. With friendly vendors ready to assist you, browsing through the charming stalls becomes an enjoyable experience.

Plus, knowing that your purchases contribute to supporting small-town businesses adds to the pleasure of shopping here. There’s something for everyone to discover and enjoy at The Shops Above the Wapsi.

The Shops Above the Wapsi are located at  21597 Co Rd E34, Anamosa, IA 52205

GypsyMoon Boutique

Nestled in the heart of town, GypsyMoon Boutique is a haven of charm and style. The shop exudes positivity and passion, evident in the owner’s enthusiasm for every item lining the shelves. Visitors can expect to find an array of treasures, from high-quality clothing to affordable yet stylish jewelry.

With its calming ambiance and an abundance of fashionable finds, this boutique is a must-visit destination for anyone seeking unique pieces and warm hospitality.

GypsyMoon Boutique is located at 122 1/2 E Main St, Anamosa, IA 52205

Market 113 on Main

If you’re looking for a one-stop destination that caters to all your style and home decor needs, you’ve got to check out this amazing store. From the latest fashion trends to charming vintage furniture and decor pieces, it’s a treasure trove of unique finds.

Market 113 on Main is located at 116 E Main St, Anamosa, IA 52205

Antiques & Oddities

There is something for everyone inside of this Anamosa antique store. Exploring the aisles feels like a treasure hunt, with every unique find sparking excitement and nostalgia. The eclectic array of items ensures that every visitor discovers a hidden gem worth cherishing.

Whether you’re a seasoned collector or just browsing, the store’s charm and variety make it a must-visit destination for antique enthusiasts of all ages.

Antiques & Oddities is located at 704 E Main St, Anamosa, IA 52205


As you step into the adorable antique store, you will be instantly transported to a bygone era filled with stories and memories. Each corner holds a new delight, from old-fashioned knick-knacks to elegant furniture pieces steeped in history.

Whether searching for a special memento or simply soaking in the vintage ambiance, visiting this charming store is a delightful journey back in time.

Gatherings is located at 130 E Main St, Anamosa, IA 52205

Anamosa Restaurants

Whether you’re craving classic comfort food or gourmet cuisine, Anamosa’s dining scene offers something to satisfy every palate. Explore quaint diners serving up hearty breakfasts and homemade pies, or head to lively dive bars known for their mouthwatering burgers and craft brews.

If you’re in the mood for international flavors, you’ll find Mexican, Italian, and Asian restaurants serving up authentic dishes made with fresh, local ingredients.

Don’t forget to indulge your sweet tooth at the local bakeries and ice cream parlors, where you’ll find decadent treats to tempt your taste buds. No matter where you choose to dine, you’re sure to enjoy a delicious meal and warm hospitality in Anamosa Iowa.

Tucker's Tavern Anamosa Iowa

Tucker’s Tavern

Nestled on the bustling main street of our charming town, Tucker’s Tavern beckons with its inviting atmosphere and delectable offerings. Whether you’re craving a mouthwatering pizza, hearty beef or chicken sandwiches, or simply seeking a relaxed spot to unwind, this tavern has something for everyone.

The friendly staff ensures a warm welcome, while the cozy ambiance invites you to linger and enjoy. With amenities like a pool table, television, and games, Tucker’s Tavern promises not just a meal, but a memorable experience for all who visit.

Tucker’s Tavern is located at 201 E Main St, Anamosa, IA 52205

Porfirios’s Mexican Restaurant

Tucked away just off the interstate, this newly-opened restaurant promises a delightful surprise for Mexican cuisine enthusiasts. Upon stepping inside, you’re greeted with exceptional service, setting the stage for a memorable dining experience.

Sip on house-made margaritas, perfectly crafted with fresh ingredients, during their 2-for-1 happy hour. The menu boasts tantalizing dishes like smothered flautas, steak burrito grande, and indulgent Azada fries. From the street tacos to seafood options, every dish showcases a depth of flavors that surpasses the ordinary. Whether you’re craving classic fajitas or eager to explore vegetarian options, this restaurant offers a plethora of choices to satisfy your palate.

Porfirios’s Mexican Restaurant is located at 1304 E 3rd St, Anamosa, IA 52205

Tyler & Downing’s Eatery

This cozy restaurant that exudes character and nostalgia, is housed in a historic building with a fascinating past as a grocery store and meat market. This charming establishment offers a peaceful atmosphere complemented by soft background music, making it the perfect spot to unwind. The menu boasts signature dishes expertly prepared and served with a smile by the friendly staff.

Don’t miss the Tuscan soup, with its slightly spicy yet comforting taste—a true standout. With its cozy ambiance, delicious fare, and inviting atmosphere steeped in history, Tyler & Downing’s Eatery is a must-visit destination for locals and travelers alike.

Tyler & Downing’s Eatery is located at 122 E Main St, Anamosa, IA 52205

pumpkin festival Anamosa Iowa

Anamosa Pumpkin Festival

Anamosa has been known as the pumpkin capital of Iowa since 1989 and was officially named that by the Iowa State Legislature in 1993. This fun Iowa festival draws in people from all over, for a day of fun and excitement, perfect for the whole family.

Main Street comes alive with the hustle and bustle of food and craft vendors, offering delectable treats and unique treasures for all ages. Don’t miss out on the spectacle of the GIANT pumpkin weigh-off, where massive pumpkins, watermelons, bushel gourds, and long gourds are tipped on the scales. Join in on the excitement with the pumpkin toss or test your aim at the dunk tank.

And of course, the highlight of the day is the grand Pumpkinfest parade, where candy flies and laughter fills the air. With activities like pumpkin carving, a car, truck, and bike show, a haunted house, and more, there’s something for everyone to enjoy at Pumpkinfest.

For more information on the Anamosa Pumpkin Festival visit the site.

I hope you enjoyed learning about the fun things to do in Anamosa Iowa in 2024. If you have visited this adorable town and have something to add to the list, be sure to leave me a comment, I would love to check it out.

More Grant Wood Destinations to Visit

Grant Wood Studio – Birthplace of American Gothic– Step into the realm of artistic genius at the Grant Wood Studio, where the master himself conceived timeless works like American Gothic and Daughters of Revolution.

American Gothic House in Eldon, Iowa– Experience the charm of rural Iowa with a visit to the American Gothic House in Eldon. Standing as a testament to Wood’s enduring legacy, this quaint farmhouse immortalizes the iconic duo from his renowned painting.

Exploring the Brucemore Mansion in Cedar Rapids, Iowa– Embark on a journey through history at the Brucemore Mansion in Cedar Rapids which houses original artwork by Grant Wood. Once the lavish estate of prominent figures, this architectural marvel now opens its doors to reveal a rich tapestry of art, culture, and heritage for anyone who wants to tour the mansion.

About Thirty Something Super Mom

Melissa Dixon Thirty Something Super Mom
Thirty Something Super Mom | Website

My journey started after a Crohn's disease diagnosis, inspiring a commitment to well-being. This site shares my distinctive approach to healthy living with my collection of nutritious recipes that boast authentic flavors, mimicking the indulgence of traditional dishes. I love sharing guilt free recipes for low carb, keto, gluten-free, paleo, and the specific carbohydrate diet. I also share tips on natural living, including homemade cleaners and cleaning hacks. I also share my experience as a veterinary technician and pet groomer, to integrate pet health tips, homemade dog food recipes, and grooming insights to ensure your pets thrive.